The NFL season officially begins September 5, 2013. Since I live in Atlanta, the Atlanta Falcons are my team. They haven’t always been my team – I grew up cheering for the Steelers, Raiders, and 49ers. But I believe in supporting the home team – unless they are opposed against your team for life. I have lived through the highs of watching Michael Vick rush for more yards than any other quarterback; the lows of Michael Vick and Coach Petrino; and then again the highs of Matt Ryan turning the team around; then the lows of losing the conference championship against the 49ers last year and the Super Bowl in 1998 against the Broncos. I know it’s been over ten years, but we should have won that game.
Anyway, the last few seasons, the Falcons have been solid. They have improved some of the weak areas through the draft, Julio Jones for instance, and through free agency, Osi Umenyiora from the Giants. Although they have continually improved over the last few years, I can’t help but notice that something is missing. They have obviously been good enough to win a lot of games, but why haven’t they won it all?
What the Falcons seem to be missing is a personality. Something or someone to rally around. Deion Sanders, aka Primetime, aka Neon Deion, was the last player the Falcons had with such a personality. Sure, he’s a Hall of Famer and was a shut-down corner, but he also had the swagger to go with it. Now, I’m not suggesting that some ineffective, insignificant player starts talking trash and strutting around. The natural selection is the quarterback Matt Ryan or Osi Umenyiora who has two Super Bowl rings and can bring in the experience and culture of winning. But, I can’t help but imagine what the team would be like if Deion was here in his prime. There’s no doubt in my mind that some of the Falcons’ losses would have been different. Not just because of his natural talents, but because for someone with such natural athleticism, he worked harder than anybody. That kind of discipline has to be contagious.
Have you ever noticed that in your work environment or perhaps your circle of friends, there is usually one person that just exudes “something” that leads to cohesion and inspires others for no apparent reason? They are good at what they do, not the best, but you still prefer to work with them instead of someone who is better. They may not be the most talented (in Deion’s case, he was the most talented corner), or most successful, but they seem to command the respect of everyone including rivals who can’t agree on anything. In business, this “it factor” is called “executive presence.” Forbes offers these tips to achieve executive presence:
- Be Polished, Poised, and Prepared – another way to say this is to remain calm, cool, and collected. Be prepared for any question that may come up.
- Mind Your Body Language – I read an article that mentioned that you will seem more important to others based on the amount of space you used at a table. The more space you used by putting your arms on the table, or spreading your papers out, the more important you appeared. Sit up straight, making eye contact with everyone in the room.
- Speak Up – Have something relevant to say and say it with confidence. When you’ve made your point, shut up, and don’t keep talking to fill the silence.
- Make Others Feel Special – It has been said that one of President Clinton’s greatest assets is that in a conversation, he made you feel like you were the only one in the room. He did this by being an effective listener and completely present doing the conversation.
Those with executive presence also have a “wow factor” that inspires and influences others. They are also decisive in their decision-making. Are you that someone at your workplace? Are you the person that’s invaluable for that “thing” you bring that doesn’t show up on paper?
So, Falcons, I’m calling you out. Will this be the year or what? Who will RISE UP and have that “thing” that takes us to the Super Bowl podium?
Also see: Falcons Poised to Rise Up